Sean Payton stepping down as head coach of Saints
The New Orleans Saints have suddenly found themselves in search of a new head coach, as Sean Payton has informed the team he is stepping down.
Several recent reports had claimed Payton was uncertain about coaching the Saints in 2022 and contemplating his future. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, he made his decision on Tuesday.
Sources: Sean Payton has informed the #Saints that he’s stepping away.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2022
The news comes as a shock. Payton has been with the Saints since 2006. He was the second-longest-tenured head coach in the NFL behind only Bill Belichick.
Rapoport said over the weekend that Payton was unlikely to coach a different team in 2022, so it remains to be seen if that holds true. If he does return to coaching in 2023 or later, it will almost certainly be with another organization. ESPN’s Mike Triplett was told Payton may return to coaching some day but wants time away.
Payton is not necessarily permanently retiring but deciding to take a break after 16 years as Saints coach. No word yet on immediate plans, though sources have told ESPN TV networks are interested. Payton under contract through 2024 so another team would have to trade for him.
— Mike Triplett (@MikeTriplett) January 25, 2022
The Saints finished 9-8 this season in what was Payton’s first year without Drew Brees as his starting quarterback. The 58-year-old may have another career path in mind for the time being.
While their quarterback situation is uncertain heading into next season, the Saints should be able to attract plenty of head coaching candidates.